Well, that was quick.
In the week since the blanket ban on Russia’s track and field team was upheld, the Russian Track and Field Federation organized and held its own Olympics in northeast Moscow for 137 athletes.
The “Stars 2016” tournament included 68 banned Olympians, featuring considerably fewer stars than will be present at the upcoming Rio Games. The event was described by many as more akin to a high school meet.
Many of the athletes used it as a chance to send a message, wearing bibs that read “I jump clean,” or other variations like “I run clean” and “I throw clean,” the New York Times reported.
Descriptions were varied in assessing the mood of the day. Many Russian officials denied that it was hastily organized in political protest, stressing that it gave athletes a chance to showcase their training and earn prize money.
Russian athletes who won events at the local tournament were awarded 100,000 rubles, equivalent to about $1,500. An Olympic gold is worth 40 times that in government payouts.
Some athletes, including sprinter Pavel Ivashko, spoke passionately against the ban. Ivashko won the 400-meter race at Stars 2016.
“It should show that no matter how much pressure they put on us we are ready to fight and run further,” he told the Guardian. “They didn’t break us. They disqualified us in the rudest way but we continue to compete.”
Others were reportedly less enthused.
There's still defiance at "Stars 2016" meet for Russians out of Rio, but athletes seem tired of whole situation. Most now off on holiday.
— James Ellingworth (@jellingworth) July 28, 2016
The Russian track and field team was the only one to receive a blanket ban on all its athletes until Friday when the International Weightlifting Federation also banned all Russian weightlifters from the upcoming Games.
Other governing bodies have begun banning individual athletes from a number of sports, including swimming, rowing and sailing teams. Friday’s weightlifting ban brings the total up to 119.